How Does COVID-19 Affect People with HIV?
We are still learning about COVID-19—including the Delta variant—and how it affects people with HIV. This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and scientists are learning more every day.
Visit COVID-19 and HIV FAQs from CDC for the latest information.
Feeling sick? Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and can recover at home. If you think you have COVID-19 and have symptoms, get tested. It’s important to continue taking your HIV medicine as prescribed. This will help keep your immune system healthy. If you don’t have a health care provider, contact your nearest community health center or health department. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), call 911. Learn more about COVID-19 and what to do if you are sick.
COVID-19 Vaccines and People with HIV
Get vaccinated. The HHS Interim Guidance for COVID-19 and with HIV recommends that people with HIV should receive COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of their CD4 or viral load, because the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks.
Additional doses for people who are immunocompromised. CDC also recommends that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, including people with advanced or untreated HIV, should receive an additional (third) dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
Booster shots. CDC recommends that certain people are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, including those who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. Get more information and read CDC’s media statement.
Vaccine safety. The U.S. vaccine safety system makes sure all vaccines are as safe as possible, including COVID-19 vaccines. People with HIV were included in vaccine clinical trials, though safety data specific to this group are not yet available. Read CDC’s FAQs about the safety of vaccines for people with HIV and when to get vaccinated, and see detailed COVID-19 vaccine information for people with underlying medical conditions.
If you have questions about getting COVID-19 vaccine and whether it is right for you, talk to your health care provider.
Visit vaccines.gov or text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) in English or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish to find COVID-19 vaccines near you.
Key Messages About COVID-19 Vaccines for People with HIV
Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. Here are three key messages we need to share:
- Everyone over 12 years of age, regardless of HIV status, get vaccinated.
- Those with advanced HIV disease and/or not on medications, get a third dose of the vaccine.
- Those in HIV care and treatment who are virally suppressed, follow CDC guidelines regarding who is eligible for a booster shot and talk with your health care provider about whether a booster is right for you.
COVID-19 and HIV: Federal Resources
Below are resources about COVID-19 from agencies across the federal government for people with HIV and the health care providers and organizations who work with them. Information is regularly being updated as we learn more in this evolving situation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- CDC.gov/coronavirus—This site provides the latest public health and safety information on COVID-19 from CDC for consumers and the medical and health provider community.
- COVID-19 and HIV | HIV | CDC—This is a resource-based page that includes links to CDC’s page on HIV and COVID-19 (below), as well as resources for clinicians, public health partners, and federal partners.
- What to Know About HIV and COVID-19 | CDC—This page provides answers to questions about HIV and COVID-19, and is formatted as a Q & A for the general public.
- COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People—This page offers information for consumers who are moderately to severely immunocompromised about CDC’s recommendation to get an additional dose of mRNA vaccine.
- COVID-19 Vaccines for People with Underlying Medical Conditions—This page offers information to help people with certain medical conditions (including HIV) make an informed decision about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
- HIV Self-Testing Guidance—This CDC guidance addresses the use of HIV self-testing programs to supplement the HIV prevention efforts of health departments and community-based organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- How to Talk with Patients Who Are Immunocompromised—This page offers tips for medical providers on talking with their patients who are severely or moderately immunocompromised about getting an additional dose of mRNA vaccine.
- Interim Guidance for Syringe Services Programs (SSPs)—This guidance describes actions SSPs and public health authorities can take to support individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. SSPs provide a range of services to people with or at risk for HIV who inject drugs.
- Medical Conditions Evidence Table—This table provides links to the scientific evidence used to update CDC’s list of underlying medical conditions that put adults at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including HIV.
- Older Adults—This page provides information COVID-19 risks and vaccines and for older adults. Older unvaccinated adults are more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. More than half of people with HIV are over age 50.
- People Who Use Drugs or Have Substance Use Disorder—This page provides COVID-19 information for people who use drugs or have substance use disorder and their loved ones.
- People with Certain Medical Conditions—This page provides links to information for adults with certain underlying medical conditions that can make a person more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19, including HIV.
- PrEP During COVID-19—This CDC guidance addresses the provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) when facility-based services are disrupted and in-person patient-clinician contact is limited due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
- Public Health Activity Guidance—This document addresses protecting public health workers engaged in activities that require face-to-face interaction with clients, including programs for HIV and other infectious diseases.
Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB)
- FY 2020 CARES Act Funding for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Recipients—The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through HRSA, awarded $90 million to help 581 RHWAP recipients prevent or minimize the impact of the pandemic on people with HIV. This page provides the latest information for award recipients. View recipients.
- HRSA HAB COVID-19 Information—This page provides links to resources for RWHAP recipients, subrecipients, and stakeholders who are responding to COVID-19. It includes audio and transcripts from HRSA HAB’s All Grant Recipient Conference Calls and Webinars.
- HRSA.gov/coronavirus—This page provides COVID-19 information specific to all HRSA programs and grantees.
- RWHAP COVID-19 FAQs—These FAQs were developed to assist RHWAP recipients, subrecipients, and stakeholders as they deliver critical services and assist local communities in response to COVID-19. This page is updated regularly.
Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Health Center Program
- COVID-19 Information for Health Centers and Partners—This page provides the latest information on COVID-19 for health centers and Health Center Program partners. HRSA-funded health centers are a vital part of the nation’s response to HIV.
- Interpersonal Violence (IPV) Toolkit and COVID-19 Resource Page—Futures Without Violence, a HRSA-funded National Training and Technical Assistance Partner, developed this toolkit to assist health centers in designing a comprehensive response to IPV and human trafficking. During COVID-19, increases in IPV have been reported across the US; there is a strong association between IPV and risks for HIV infection.
Indian Health Service (IHS)
- IHS.gov/coronavirus—This web page provides Information specific to the federal response in Indian Country.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (COVPN)—The CoVPN seeks to enroll thousands of volunteers in large-scale clinical trials of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies for the prevention of COVID-19 disease. It was formed by merging four long-standing NIAID-funded clinical trial networks, including three that target HIV and AIDS. (These networks will continue to perform clinical trials for HIV vaccine and prevention and other infectious diseases in addition to their new COVID roles.) Interested individuals can sign up to potentially take part in a current or future clinical trial.
- Interim Guidance for COVID-19 and Persons with HIV—This interim guidance reviews special considerations for persons with HIV and their health care providers in the United States regarding COVID-19.
- NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines—These Treatment Guidelines were developed to inform clinicians how to care for patients with COVID-19. These Guidelines will be updated as new information becomes available.
- NIDA: Resources to Help Your Patients with Substance Use Disorders (SUD) During the COVID-19 Pandemic—This National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) page provides resources for medical professionals on SUD during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the comorbidity of HIV and SUD, it may be of use to those who work with people with HIV.
- NIDA: COVID-19—NIDA also developed this page of COVID-19 resources for consumers, researchers, recovery professionals, medical providers, and others. It includes FAQs on COVID-19 and addiction/substance use disorder.
- NIH.gov/coronavirus—This page provides the latest news about COVID-19 research from NIH.
- NLM: COVID-19—This National Library of Medicine (NLM) site provides links to clinical studies, journal articles, text mining collections, and other COVID-19 resources.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- SAMHSA.gov/coronavirus—This site provides guidance and resources on the prevention and treatment of those with mental health and SUD as it relates to COVID-19.
- Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks—This fact sheet describes common signs of stress and how to recognize when to get help. (En Español)
- Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak—This resource discusses what individuals may expect before, during, and after social distancing, quarantine, and isolation, and how to care for one's behavioral health.
- Tips for Survivors of a Pandemic – Managing Stress.—This sheet describes some of the common reactions to pandemics and other disasters and suggests ways to deal with them. (En Español)
- Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19—Updated monthly, this resource provides links to COVID-19-related trainings offered by SAMHSA’s technology transfer centers.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Community Living
- Strategies to Improve Equitable Vaccine Access for Older Adults and People With Disabilities—This compendium provides creative approaches to ensure COVID-19 vaccine access for people with disabilities and older adults. More than 36% of people with HIV are over the age of 55.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights
- HHS OCR Bulletin on Civil Rights Laws and HIPAA Flexibilities that Apply During the COVID-19 Emergency—This Bulletin is focused on ensuring that covered entities (such as hospitals, clinics, and state health departments) do not unlawfully discriminate against people with disabilities when making decisions about their treatment during the COVID-19 public health emergency. It includes addressing the needs of people with HIV in emergency planning.
- HHS OCR Guidance on Federal Legal Standards Prohibiting Disability Discrimination in COVID-19 Vaccination Programs—This guidance describes legal standards which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and gives examples of the application of these standards in the context of COVID-19 vaccine programs. People with or at risk for HIV who have disabilities may find this information useful. (Related fact sheet.)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- HUD HOPWA COVID-19 Guidance and Resources—This page offers COVID-19 guidance, webinars, and other COVID-19 resources for the grantees of HUD’s Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) Program.